Type 2 diabetes is caused by a decrease in the effectiveness or production of insulin. Without insulin, the amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood increases. The elevated blood sugar level causes diabetes. If left unmanaged, the high blood glucose level can lead to potentially dangerous complications of diabetes.
Excessive thirst and frequent urination are symptoms of diabetes that are often the first warning sign a person experiences. Excessive hunger, weight loss, and fatigue are common symptoms of diabetes. Diabetes can also cause blurred vision. Diabetes may make sores heal more slowly than usual. Frequent infections can also occur.
If someone experiences symptoms of diabetes, they should consult a doctor to be evaluated for the condition. The physician may use a blood sugar test to diagnose diabetes or rule it out if the blood sugar level is normal. A normal fasting blood sugar level is between 70 and 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). A level between 100 and 125 suggests prediabetes. Scoring above 125 on a fasting blood sugar test indicates diabetes. Instead of a fasting blood test, the doctor may use a random blood test. A score above 200 regardless of when the individual ate is indicative of diabetes.
Much like the tests used to diagnose diabetes, the diabetic patient must check the blood sugar level periodically each day. Usually a fasting reading is taken before the person eats breakfast. Then, the person takes another reading after each meal. It is important for the diabetic patient to follow the physician’s instructions for checking and recording blood sugars.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and a high level of ketones in the urine can be serious complications. If left untreated, they can cause seizures and loss of consciousness. Diabetes can cause damage to the eyes which can lead to blindness. Diabetes increases an individual’s risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s. Damage to the kidneys, nerves, skin, and feet are possible complications of diabetes. If any symptoms of these conditions develop, early intervention is often the key to preventing a serious condition.